Terrell Owens out of work, going broke and 'in hell'
Terrell Owens is ready to play football again. He says he's completely recovered from the knee injury that required surgery last summer, works out three hours a day to keep that physique he's famous for and even has a stack of shoe boxes filled with new cleats waiting by the door of his Los Angeles condo.
"I'm ready," Owens said. "They may not be ready for me, but me: I'm ready."
He's right. Owens, 38, has the second-most receiving yards in NFL history and a resurgent year the last time he played in the NFL, in 2010 for the Cincinnati Bengals. But nobody seems to want him. Instead, it is Owens who seems to desperately need the NFL -- both for his financial and emotional well-being, judging from an article by Nancy Hass in the current GQ magazine.
According to the article, Owens is quickly running out of money, has very few friends, is in court with the mothers of all four of his children and overall seems to be in a pretty dark place. When people text to ask where he is, Owens writes back, "I'M IN HELL."
Owens does not think he is clinically depressed,"but that doesn't mean I don't get real down," he said. "I'm human; that's what people don't realize. I may be a public figure, but really, I'm just like a guy who could be in your family and have some difficult things happen to him."
That does not seem to be the perception of Owens in the NFL. Instead, he is seen as a showboating egomaniac who was a great player but known to be a terrible teammate during stops in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas. He appeared to have cleaned up his act more recently in Buffalo and Cincinnati, but his reputation followed him and he now can't get a job.
"They, you, need a bad guy," Owens said, referring to the media. "I think people change, but the media, they never allowed me to change. They never allowed me to be a better person."
The money problems came from a series of bad investments and, as Owens describes it, trusting the wrong people.
"I hate myself for letting this happen," Owens said. "I believed that they had my back when they said, 'You take care of the football, and we'll do the rest.' And in the end, they just basically stole from me."
He says the mother of one of his children is trying to push him into finding a steady job, like working as a coach or a football analyst on TV, which would definitely help his financial situation. But Owens insists he has a few more playing years left in him.
"I will be here next year," he said. "I'll be fit and healthy and ready to play."
-- Chuck Schilken
Photo: Terrell Owens works out at Calabasas High School in October. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times